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LITERARY PATRIOTIC DUKE                    11

forward, and stopping where it must stop. From the natural flow of
thoughts and language arises its wayward, abundant charm. 'An
expression lacking literary beauty cannot survive very long,' said
Confucius. Again he said: 'All you ask of writing is that it expresses
well.' One may think that if the aim of writing is merely to express
something well, it may be lacking in literary beauty. That is not so.
Only one person in a thousand or ten thousand can appreciate an
intangible, elusive idea, or the essence of a given situation, and make
it clear to himself. It is still more difficult to communicate it by hand
or mouth to others, which is what we mean by expressing it well. When
one can do this, he can do anything with his pen. Yang Shiung loved
to clothe a simple, insipid thought in high-flown, difficult phraseology,
just because he knew that if he did not, the thought itself would be
shown to be quite commonplace. That is the trick of the so-called petty
journeyman writers." In this definition of style, Su Tungpo aptly
describes his own process of literary composition, moving and stop-
ping like "sailing clouds and flowing water", and he gives away all the
mysteries of composition and rhetoric. There are no rules on when to
go on and when to break off. The charms and wayward beauty come
by themselves if the writer's thoughts are beautiful and he only can
express them truthfully, genuinely, and well'. They are not something
laid on the writing. Simplicity, naturalness, and a certain freedom
which comes from mastery of expression are the secrets of a good style.
When such qualities are present, and the writing is not insipid, we have
genuine literature.

Anyway, pleasure given was a characteristic of all Su's writings.
Most pleased of all was the author himself in the act of writing. "The
happiest moments of my life," Su said to his friend one day, "are when,
at the time of writing, my pen can express all the intricacies of my
thoughts. I say to myself: 'There is no greater pleasure in this earthly
life than this.'" Much the same was its effect on his contemporaries.
Ouyang Shiu said that whenever he received a new composition by Su,
he remained happy for the whole day. An attendant upon Emperor
Shentsung told people that whenever the Emperor's chopsticks stopped
in the middle of his eating, it was sure to be Su Tungpo's memorandum
that he was reading. Always whenever a new poem reached the court,
even during the period of Su Tungpo's exile, the Emperor would praise
it before the other ministers with sighs of admiration. But it was also
these sighs of admiration on the part of the Emperor that frightened the
ministers and kept Su in exile so long as this emperor lived.

Once the poet defended the power of giving pleasure as literature's
own reward. In the last years of his life he sometimes wanted to throw
away his brush and stop writing entirely, since it was writing that had
brought him all his trouble. A friend and admirer, Liu Mien, edited his